Transcripts 500-510



We were waiting in I guess like a little almost like a cutout area of the lobby, an elevator bank. One elevator was only working out of like four elevators in that bank. The door closed, they went up, and it just seemed a couple seconds and all of a sudden you just heard like it almost actually that day sounded like bombs going off, like boom, boom, boom, like seven or eight, and then just a huge wind gust just came and my officer just actually took all of us and just threw us down on the ground and kind of just jumped on top of us, laid on top of us. There were rocks falling and all that. The lights were still on at that point and all of a sudden the lights went out and you couldn't see anything. At this point, there's a guy from my firehouse on his way up in the elevator. They got up to the 22nd floor and 13 Truck got off the elevator. He said to the guy -- this is before the actual collapse happened. He said to him stay here with us, stay here with me, because if this elevator closes, I don't have any tools. As soon as he said that, the elevator closed and that's when the actual collapse of the building happened. He made his way out into a stairwell and he made his way down.

At that point we were kind of standing on the street and I looked to my left and actually I noticed the tower was down. I didn't even know what it was when we were in there. It just seemed like a huge explosion.

Then we started walking actually back towards Tower 1 and a cop and a Battalion Chief came up to us and said just start running the other way. The other tower is coming down.
Q. Who told you this; a cop?
A. A cop and a Battalion Chief. We were kind of like standing next to them. I stayed with him -- I was with the Battalion Chief at one point and I started running up the street and I kind of lost track of all the guys I was with. The two other guys who I actually brought to the ambulance, the ambulance guy said you've got to get out of the ambulance. They just started running towards the water. We started running, myself, the Battalion Chief, the cop, my Lieutenant was with me at that point, up West Street, and you just heard a rumbling, a huge amount of rumbling, and I just dove under a car, and I was with a guy from I think 138 Truck.



Q. Ed, just tell us the incident as you recall it on that day.
A. We weren't dispatched until the second plane hit. We were watching. It was in the house watch we were watching as -- you know, we turned the TV on like everybody else, saw that there was a hole in the side of the building, weren't sure whether it was a little plane or was it an implosion or an explosion. But as we watched the TV, all of a sudden the second plane flew in there and hit, and with that we knew right away, we thought it was an act of terrorism.

We parked on West Street. I really don't know exactly where because there were so many rigs and stuff but back a ways. We had to walk down a few blocks to get down. The lobby command post at that time -- we took extra bottles with us, and the lobby command post was set up across West Street. I guess it had originally been in the towers, I heard, and the flames had come down into the lobby and they had moved across West Street up in front of I guess it's --
Q. The Financial Center?
A. -- the Financial Center.

So when I saw that and I saw our two guys were going over, I said to the Lieutenant, well, I'm just going to walk south down here a little bit, tell these guys that are pulling in, 113 Truck had just pulled up and they were on the west side of the street and there was another rig coming up, and as I said to the guy with me, Richie Boeri and I, I said to Richie, well, okay, we're going to walk down there and just tell these guys not to block, you know, keep the road open. We took two steps, there was a tremendous boom, explosion, we both turned around, and the top of the
building was coming down at us. With this I just turned to Richie and said run.

At that moment I'm thinking, well, maybe I should go in the water because there were boats in the water. I'm starting to get a little paranoid now and saying maybe I should take my stuff off, jump in the water, get in a boat, at least I'll be all right, because I didn't know -- at that point I didn't have any idea, you know, I didn't see the other building come down. We just heard it rumbling and crashing and people screaming that it was coming down and we ran and jumped in. I mean, I never knew the first building that came down, No. 2, I didn't know that the whole building came down because I really couldn't see. What I saw was the top of the building, the top quarter of the building come down, and I never knew until later on that the whole bottom, that the rest of it had pancaked down, because I couldn't see because of all the dusk and the smoke and even, I don't know, how many minutes later, however it was.

We were on Liberty Street and we came out into there and it just look like something that -- it looked like a bomb, of course, had gone off, almost like a nuclear bomb. That's all I could think of. I've never been at war. I equated it to being like when I saw something like when I was a kid and I saw Godzilla in the movies or something, when he crushes those buildings and stuff like that, that's what it looked like to me.

That was the only Mayday that I remember, and to tell you the truth, the only guy that really stands out in my mind that I remember being on the radio was Chief Visconti. I remember him talking and giving directions and this and that. But this is as the day was going on and, of course, there were so many transmissions going over. I remember him screaming about 7, No. 7, that they wanted everybody away from 7 because 7 was definitely going to collapse, they don't know when, but it's definitely going to come down, just get the hell out of the way, everybody get away from it, make sure you're away from it, that's an order, you know, stuff like that.



Okay. I'll start with Engine 1's arrival to the building. We responded to the north tower and we proceeded up to the 22nd floor. When we got to the 22nd floor, there was a staging area for I believe it was the Port Authority Police, and our proby was having chest pains, and my Lieutenant, Andy Desperito, gave an urgent for Firefighter Craig Dunn, probationary firefighter, which kind of slowed us down a little bit. We would have continued up, but we wanted to make sure he was getting assistance. His urgent was given and it was answered. I don't know by who. So we were going to proceed up. He was in good hands with the Port Authority cops. While we were in the hallway, we were taking a breather, the south tower fell. We all thought it was a secondary explosion or maybe a plane, but we never knew that the south tower fell. We just knew, whatever it was, that it was really bad. So the lights had gone out and the ceiling tiles fell and we all turned our flashlights on and went into the staircase to get shelter because the shafts were open. On the 22nd floor, some of the elevator shafts were actually open. I don't know who had said it but they said, you know, get into the staircase, and we all went in the staircase. The emergency lighting was on. Andy actually started going up the staircase, which, in my mind, I thought he's not going up the stairs. After what just happened, this is not good. There's something we don't know. He was on a mission to go up the stairs. The brothers were up. Just at that point, my radio came clear as day, "Imminent collapse. This was a terrorist attack. Evacuate."
That's exactly what I heard. I think that was Chief Picciotto that was giving the order. We relayed that again, hoping that the brothers would hear it above us, and I remember the look on Andy's face, like apprehension that we were going to leave this building.

Just as we got towards the walkway, I looked back because I heard what I thought was another jet, and it was the building on its way down already. My guys had just came out. They were on the apron and they were just going to cross the barricade and stuff was -- the debris was on its way down and we just ran.



As we got down to the location, we got dropped off a couple of blocks away. I don't really recall what street we got dropped off on, but I think it was Barclay and West. The lieutenant and I traveled down to where Ladder 8's rig was to find out, see if we could hook up with Ladder, looking for the command post. I proceeded into One World Trade Center into the front lobby. Just making it into the door, I ran into 3 Truck, members of 3 Truck, which told us that there were numerous people trapped in elevator cars and that they needed forcible entry saws.

I guess about three minutes later you just heard explosions coming from building two, the south tower. It seemed like it took forever, but there were about ten explosions. At the time I didn't realize what it was. We realized later after talking and finding out that it was the floors collapsing to where the plane had hit. We then realized the building started to come down. At that point everybody at the command post took off into -- there were two garages across. I guess it was by Two World Financial Center next to the Winter Garden, just a little bit south of the north bridge. Everybody took off into an underground garage. I made it in about 20 feet inside the door, and I tripped over an EMT who I guess broke his leg and was disabled. I pretty much just stayed there and tried to comfort him. Before I had gone into the garage, I grabbed a mask. At that point, that's when the building started to come down. It was already coming down, and you could see the force of air coming towards you. I was just trying to drag the EMT down the ramp. That's when the blast came, and now you're just trying to don the mask.

Q. When the north tower was coming down, did you have any indication? Did you hear the explosions again? Did anybody warn you like they heard on the radio or anything like that?
A. I didn't have a radio, because we were coming from the medical office. So I never did get a radio. So I wouldn't have heard that, if somebody had said it. You did hear the explosions. Of course after the first one -- the first one was pretty much looking at it like in awe. You didn't realize that this was really happening because you kind of just stood there and you didn't really react as fast as you thought you were going to. The second one coming down, you knew the explosions. Now you're very familiar with it. Of course when I looked up, all I could see was the antenna coming down. You pretty much just pick up and take off.



We were making our way down West Street. We got just about south of the north overpass, about 50 feet past that, when the first collapse occurred. I looked up. I was awed by – I thought it exploded at the top. Everybody I guess at that point started running, and I luckily ran north where I came from to try to run out from under this – which happened to be a collapse, realized I couldn’t. I was going to stay under the overpass. I realized I couldn’t get out from under the collapse. I dove under an ESU truck that was facing north on the west side of West street. I dove under that and waited for the building to come down. When the building did come down, I actually thought I was trapped, and the truck was blown off me, pushed off me, I guess. It was not there. At that point I was just really shocked and didn’t know what was going on at that point.



So we're starting towards the scene. It had to be maybe -- we were practically underneath it. We were on the other side of the pedestrian bridge. Definitely we were on the other side of the bridge. All of a sudden -- yeah, we were, because the pedestrian bridge goes over to the high school. That's when we heard the rumble. We looked up, and the second tower was coming down. We turned around. We run out of here. I lose my boss. I couldn't find him for a while. I continued running north. Then after a while everything started to settle down, I started to work my way back.

When we came up on -- over here somewhere. It was actually -- I forget the name of the street. North End?
Q. Had the second building collapsed yet?
A. Yeah. No, what happened, like I said, we were walking towards the scene. That's when we heard the rumbling and the second building started coming down. That's when we ran.
Q. So you got there after the first building collapsed?
A. Yes, after the first building collapsed and just prior to the second building coming down.



We passed underneath a bridge, a foot bridge. We passed underneath a foot bridge. I remember that. I'm looking at this tower, and Tony DeMaio was with me. I can remember telling him, "Tony, I don't believe what I'm seeing. I can't believe this, you know, the smoke pouring out." All at once as I'm looking at it, I see chunks of the tower starting to come down and it was picking up speed. I can remember saying, "It's coming down." Right at that point firefighters were rushing past us. I almost got knocked over. I turned around and said, "Tony, run." I can remember turning around, and things were flying out of my pockets. I couldn't worry about that at that point, because I was running. I ran to the left, and Tony ran to the right. I'm looking back, and I said, "God, look at this!" I can remember saying that. I could see this cloud following.



We made it up to the 22nd floor. We stood there for a couple minutes. I believe Andy Desperito talked to the battalion through the fire warden phones. We did locate somebody at the end of the hall, but everything was blown out. The ceiling had fallen. The drop ceiling had blown to the floor. Some of the walls were blown out. So Andy and I had crawled down the hallway to get to the Port Authority command post. After that we went back to the members, and when the building started to shake. I don't remember anybody telling us to get out, but there was a Port Authority person with us and I believe he had orders to leave. Again, I think that's maybe why we were going. Let me see what else.
Q. Do you know what stairway it was?
A. I believe it was B. Again, I was watching every person coming down, looked at their face, just to make them happy that they were getting out and we were going in and everything was okay. We were also with 16 Engine on the 22nd floor. When the building shook, I was right next to an elevator shaft with Andy, crawling down the hallway. I was waiting for a flame to come up from the basement because I believed something in the basement blew up. Nothing like that happened, so I was waiting for a flame to come down from a plane. Nothing like that happened. Still at that time I never knew that the south tower had gone down.

I get outside, still helping people out, still not knowing the south tower had gone down. We get outside, help some old man out. We helped him halfway down the block, I guess. We heard a noise like the plane was still coming in -- like another plane was coming in. We turned around to look, and that's when our building was going down. I was covered up with debris. I couldn't see anything, couldn't talk, choking from all the dust. I had my cylinder, but of course I was out of air from walking down all the steps and helping out the PB officer.



That's where we saw Timmy Stackpole standing there. We looked and he was just on the west side of West Street, basically, just north of the south pedestrian bridge. I don't know how long it was after that that the towers came down. We were looking up. You saw the smoke coming out. We really didn't have an assignment yet. Our lieutenant came back. I can't remember if he actually gave us an assignment of what we were going to do or what, but it was right then that we heard the noise. My lieutenant said he looked down at the first floor, and he auto see the first floor of the south tower like exploding out. I looked up. I looked up, and the sky was filled with that debris cloud. You could see the debris coming down, pretty much toward us. We were standing underneath it. At that point there we made 180 degree turn, and we started running south on West Street. I'm pretty sure we made it under the south pedestrian bridge. I don't know whether we got all the way to Albany Street or not, but we were able to make a turn and we were alongside the building. We didn't know that the whole tower had come down until later on. We heard it and we knew -- the whole sky was filled with the debris. You could see it coming down. Whatever it was was coming right at us.

This time I came up. I came up because we were by the water. We came up Albany. I went north on whatever street, End Street, to about Liberty Street and went back to the debris field. There was a lot of debris here. Then I heard the noise again. I don't even remember seeing anything of the north tower coming down. I don't know if I saw it or not. Climbed out of the debris field, and I was alongside Liberty Street. I know I made the turn here. In the building there was like a cutout where I could get like underneath the building. There must have been a door there; I can't remember if there was. This time I remembered I was all by myself thinking, oh, now I'm going to die by myself. I could hear the building shaking as the building was coming down. You could hear the whole building shake.